Responsibility in Campaign Donations

There’s a great story in the Washington Post today about the Tea Party and their “political activism”.  The Tea Party, as it turns out, is a highly efficient mechanism for converting anger from senior citizens into second homes for political professionals.  The numbers are absolutely staggering – “Out of the $37.5 million spent so far by the PACs of six major tea party organizations, less than $7 million has been devoted to directly helping candidates”.  The rest is going into “expenses”, namely lining the pockets of the people running the show.  Often the play isn’t a high director salary, but funneling it into “consulting fees” paid to a firm coincidentally owned by the director.

There needs to be some sort of a standard for political donations – something like the model for rating charities.  Too many of the dollars that go into politics are just wasted and channeled into the pockets of charlatans.  I think there’s a real value for something like the “stamp of approval” that certifies that a given political organization is actually spending most of its money on political activists.  Maybe it’s time to learn how to use the Sunlight Foundation API…

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